Shetland Arts announced it was a recipient of the British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland Connect and Collaborate fund. Through the Fund, artists and organisations based in Scotland applied for grants of up to £25,000 to work with international peers and develop innovative residency projects, either by building on existing global relationships or being matched with an international partner. The full list of Scottish organisations receiving the funds is: Cove Park, Deveron Project, Moniack Mhor Writers Centre, Shetland Arts, Dance Base, The Bothy Project, The Work Room, Dundee Rep & Scottish Dance Theatre and Summerhall.

Shetland Arts will create an artist residency and exchange between Shetland and San Antonio, Texas exploring extraction economy and the environment in these two diverse geographies. Both heavily exploited for their natural resources these areas of the globe have more in common than first meets the eye.

Shetland Arts is thrilled to have to the opportunity to build a partnership with The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas and connect our two artistic communities. Shetland - the archipelago at the most northerly tip of the UK - thrives off the oil and gas fields that skirt it, but now looks to renewables for its future. With the industrialisation and oil-rich economies of our two distinct geographies as the creative catalyst, we hope to inspire new work that will spark and arc locally, nationally and internationally, addressing questions of sustainability and climate change as COP26 comes to Scotland.

(Jane Matthews, Exhibition Manager at Shetland Arts)

(X)CHANGE is an artist residency and exchange between Shetland and San Antonio, Texas, exploring extraction economy and the environment in these two diverse geographies. Connecting international visual artists, with the scope of working digitally and/or with moving image in these two settings, we'll explore themes around the economics of the natural resources in these distinct geographic areas within the context of the global environmental emergency.

Shetland, made rich by the oil and gas processing industry, is on the cusp of a new wave of industrialisation with the development of a controversial 130 turbine onshore wind farm. The oil-rich state of Texas has a longstanding and complex relationship between its natural reserves and the gargantuan industry built around it.

The project will create a residency opportunity and commission for two selected visual artists (or initiatives), one from each country, to research and develop a body of digitally presented work for exhibition between a Shetland Arts venue and The McNay Art Museum (Texas) in 2021. A one-month paid residency will be arranged for each artist/initiative to spend time in the exchange setting, Covid-permitting, followed by a joint exhibition in each venue, and/or online.

Artists may choose to work together on a final output or separately, but we will aim for a shared dialogue and relationship. We aim to support digital work and/or moving image as an artform for this project to channel resources and contingencies effectively.

Given the nature of the medium we will have the necessary flexibility to share material between artists and exhibit in both locations simultaneously. We feel that the benefits of working internationally with artists to create new work on local and global issues will resonate beyond these two locations.

More information on this opportunity coming soon.